Archive for October, 2009

Ghost sighting?

October 31st, 2009

Anyone ever seen a ghost? I've felt one- I think one kissed my head when I was in Hana. I had taken a rock off the beach, encountered a spate of bad luck, and took it back. When I was in the hotel (alone in a room) I still felt someone kiss the top of my head, as if to thank me.

Another time, I was videotaping a demo in my dojo, and I felt Sensei come up beside me to peek into the flip-out viewfinder. I turned to talk to him and found he wasn't even in the room. Later, another student who can see ghosts, said he thought he saw a shadow by me.

It never scares me at first because I don't realize what's happening till afterwards. So, I haven't seen ghosts, but (assuming I'm not nuts), maybe felt them?

The old KHNL used to have ghosts in the main building on 150-B Puuhale Road. It was a crematorium during the war. I've heard many stories about several ghosts there from different coworkers. I never had to, nor wanted, to be in Headquarters after dark.

I love ghost stories. Share!!! 🙂

New Honary Consul of Denmark

October 28th, 2009

My husband in May joined the diplomatic ranks as the newest Honorary Consul. Here's the press release:


The Queen of Denmark approved Claus Z. Hansen, CEO and co-owner of Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary, as Royal Danish Consulate, representing Hawaii. “I’m excited to be selected for this honor. Though I have made Hawaii my home, I keep close ties to my homeland, and visit my relatives every other year,” he says. “Helping my fellow Danes have a positive experience in Hawaii is important to me.”

The Royal Danish Consulate in Hawaii is now located at

1150 Kikowaena St.
Honolulu, HI 96819

Office hours are 8 am – 4 pm.

What is an Honorary Consul? It’s not a career diplomat. It’s a private citizen who helps represent the citizens of a certain country, as a volunteer role. Honorary Consuls are afforded a military rank, after Rear Admirals/Major Generals/Air Vice Marshalls.

An Honorary Consul may be called out (at any time, day or night) to attend to the well-being of a citizen of the appointing country who has been arrested. They ensure that the arrested person is being treated fairly, and that he or she understands their rights and obligations. “According to my predecessor, most of the cases involving Danes were lost passports or wayward hikers,” anticipates Hansen.

Hansen was born and raised in Denmark, and moved to Hawaii in 1986 to attend the University of Hawaii on a swimming scholarship. He chose to make Hawaii his home, and teaches his daughter Danish in the hopes that she will one day appreciate her Danish heritage. He has been an active member of Hawaii’s Scandinavian community for more than 20 years.

No, the job doesn’t come with diplomatic immunity, but he does get a cool license plate, a really large coat of arms for the wall, and now and then, a dinner with the Danish Queen.

Claus Z. Hansen
(808) 542-2021 cell

What I look forward to next

October 26th, 2009

I got up after the sun was up today. I walked around the neighborhood while it was still cool, with my daughter. I felt fantastic! Here's what else I am excited about in the next chapter of my life:

1) Being the mom who runs and jumps and splashes and chases her kid, not the mom too tired to go anywhere or do anything too energetic. I gave the best of me to work. Now I can give it to her!


2) Seeing my husband for more than one hour a day. Actually staying up and watching television with him or talking to him after Olivia goes to sleep.

3) Looking into a PhD in political science. Higher education is fun!

4) Taking cake decorating classes at Cake Creations in Manoa. My mom is a great baker. I like to cook, but I am motivated to learn to bake so I can decorate cakes for Olivia!


5) Returning to jujitsu. My dojo only offers night classes. I missed six months of training.

6) Travel. We postponed a trip to Denmark to see Claus' ailing uncle, because I did not want the double whammy of traveling with a two year old on a 23 hour journey, and because I was deathly afraid to throw off my body clock.

Claus and Uncle Paul

Claus and Uncle Paul

7) Taking sewing classes? I like to sew.

8) Kiln-glass making at Hawaii Kiln Glass.

I made this for holiday gifts.

I made this for holiday gifts.

9) Walking the dog.

IncaKHNL 008

10) Kayaking

11) Surfing???

12) Living, loving, laughing, and staying in the light! 🙂 Life is beautiful. Let's enjoy it!


I read a wonderful article about reinventing onesself. Novelist and radio host Kurt Andersen recalled his own firing from New York magazine 13 years ago as something freeing. "Getting fired was traumatic. Finding my way since has been thrilling and immensely gratifying," he wrote in Time magazine.

He also quotes a Japanese Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki, who said that "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."

I'm an expert in my craft. I write a story in ten minutes. I can execute a flawless live shot with 30 second's notice. I'm proud of that... and I'm tired of that. I wouldn't have been had I not been laid off, but think I subconsciously disconnected, such that I've turned the corner to embrace a new life outside of news.

I found it harder and harder to wake up in the morning. That was the biggest clue. I was counting down the days till the final show, and I was excited. It was an impatience that grew, and reminded me of being a child and waiting for Christmas to come.

I didn't mean to disconnect. It wasn't a matter of anything negative. I was not bitter and I wanted to do a great job till the end. I consciously was happy and energetic at work through my last day. However, how could I not start mentally winding down? It's only human nature.

People keep asking what's next. I know they mean a career. They are not satisfied to hear, "Be a mom." Is it that obvious I like to work? 🙂

I have always freelanced a LOT in all kinds of capacities - pretty much anything within the scope of my skill set, which is writing, reading, reading out loud, being on camera, and public relations stuff. People find me, somehow. I have regular work from a mish-mash of clients. I'll keep that up.

For fun, I want to really think about a PhD. I don't necessarily want to use it. I just think it would be an interesting journey to earn it.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I don't know about a second career. But here's the more thoughtful answer: Most journalists go into one of three industries: public relations, law, or politics. Law sounds like the most feasible, most realistic option. Would I want to endure more school? Gosh.

And again, these are just random thoughts I've got percolating in my head right now. Things might be different when I'm actually ready to do something. I think that will be a year or two away. Maybe there are more possibilities out there that I haven't considered. I'm just open to whatever life brings me.

...I'm hitting the personal reset button now!

Aloha, KHNL

October 23rd, 2009

I still remember my first day at KHNL in March 1996. I was young and impressionable, not far out of college, and eager to make a name for myself. I was excited to be working in my hometown. Every day at work was like a party!

My first assignment was to cover a Hawaiian sovereignty rally at the state capitol. I had to brush up on a quick primer on the issue. I think they threw me on that story because I graduated from Kamehameha and they assumed I knew about all things Hawaiian!

Over the years, I've seen a lot, done even more, and have had the honor of delivering Hawaii's news to peoples' living rooms every night. It's been a wild ride. Thank you, Hawaii, for accepting me as part of the community. I'm lucky and grateful. I've grown, and grown up, at KHNL.

Nicole Scherzinger, Pussycat Dolls lead singer

Nicole Scherzinger, Pussycat Dolls lead singer

Actress Joan Chen with me and my parents

Actress Joan Chen with me and my parents

I've met a prince (Andrew) and many politicians, covered several presidents (Clinton, Bush, Obama), ridden all kinds of aircraft (military cargo planes, an aerobatic helicopter, but aww- never a jet), and swam under the sea (a lot). I've met a fair share of celebrities and criminals, musicians and muckrakers.

Affordable Casket story

Affordable Casket story

Air Force One

Air Force One- me and Akita

Oh, the memories! There was the time I stalked Ben Affleck in Lanikai when he was here filming Pearl Harbor. I kept walking the loop over and over, hoping to see him driving in. The moment he did, I was unprepared, so he zipped by with Gwyneth Paltrow in his silver Jaguar. If only I hurled myself in front of his convertible so he'd have to stop and give me mouth-to-mouth!

Elections: Jai Cunningham, Jodi Leong, me, Jim Mendoza

Elections: Jai Cunningham, Jodi Leong, me, Jim Mendoza

I've done lots of breaking news, but the most intense was the 1996 triple murder-suicide in Mililani that kept me on scene for 16 hours straight. This taught me to carry food at all times.

I was the reporter in a minor run-in with starlet Hayden Panettierre at the Royal Hawaiian. She was unprofessional and unpleasant, I'm disappointed to say, because I had previously admired her. What was shocking to me is how quickly the worldwide media picked up the story.

The networks were all calling KHNL's newsroom the next day. My boss didn't want to get into a gossip war, so he wouldn't return the calls. I am forever the anonymous female reporter in this story.

My best memory, though, is of meeting my husband through work. I was driving back to the station with photographer Dell Ison when we passed the newly opened Affordable Casket in the Nimitz strip mall. It was right next to Sensually Yours. We died laughing.

Dell suggested I do a tongue-in-cheek story, a la Jeannie Moos of CNN. I did, and Claus asked me out afterward. Meeting Claus has been the best thing to happen to me. He is the perfect husband.

I've reported from a number of overseas destinations, covering the Indian Ocean tsunami while embedded with a Navy unit in Thailand; previewing the Hong Kong handover; finding Hawaii ties in Vancouver, BC; watching doctors treat mudslide victims in the Philippines; seeing Japanese-American internment camp survivors graduate from the University of Seattle; and filing travelogues from Japan, Manila, and Denmark.


While I love the access and adventure that newscasting gave me, what I'll miss most is the people. Not just the stars, but the everyman as well. I've met such wonderful folks on this job, some of whom I've maintained friendships with over the years. That includes both people I work with, and people I've interviewed.

It's such a privilege to be allowed to step into someone's life, ask them all kinds of personal questions, and have them simply... answer! I've experienced a lot of "day in the life of" moments where I've gotten to peek into someone else's reality. When I go home, I always appreciate mine. My line of work suits me.


Or, it did until recently, when I was let go from the only career I've ever known. When the merger was announced, I knew in my heart I would either get laid off, or demoted to a reporter. I am not undervaluing myself. I'm just savvy and realistic. I'm damned good talent, but TV news is not a meritocracy. There were many factors and forces at work, and I glimpsed enough to realize my fate.

It's OK. I was never sad about the layoff. I wanted to be a lifer, but my life hasn't followed the course I planned back in college. For personal reasons, I was contemplating quitting in six more months, anyway, when the revamped morning show turned a year old in April 2010. Dan Schmidt put me on the show, and to respect him, I didn't want to walk away too early.

And to be honest, I enjoyed every single day of it. The show was fun. It invigorated me. I never walked into work not wanting to be there.

Dash's last show- Oct 21, 2009 Weds

Dash's last show- Oct 21, 2009 Weds

I want to be a full-time mother until Olivia goes to school. My whole philosophy on... anything, really, is to give it my all. I didn't want to bear a child only to pawn her off on babysitters all day. I want to enjoy her.

Working a graveyard schedule was extremely hard for me. I get up at 3:30 am, and because it's not a natural biorhythm, I get tired faster. Sometimes by noon, I'd fade. When you have a two-year-old, you can't sleep when you want. There would be some very tired days. I liken it to watching Olivia through a glass window - I see her but there isn't a lot of interaction.

I figured out my body works best if I go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. I ended up missing out a lot of personal time with Claus, and on lots of social events. I had to quit evening jujitsu. I maintained this schedule on weekends for consistency. Boring.

Last morning show- Oct 23, 2009 Fri

Last morning show- Oct 23, 2009 Fri

I like this line of work so much, I probably wouldn't have left unless kicked out. Despite the constant struggle for balance and the incredible amount of discipline this weird schedule requires, I love the news business. Therefore, I see it as a gift from the Universe that the decision was made for me to leave. I might have otherwise dickered.

It's time for me to broaden my horizons! And get some sleep.

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P.S. YES I will keep blogging here. This blog has nothing to do with my job at KHNL. I picked it up because I like to write. Keep in touch with me here!

What I'll miss about news

October 21st, 2009

Here goes my list of things I'll miss about my life in a newsroom. This list is culled from past and present, not just my current stint on mornings.

1) Seeing my wonderful friends every day.

2) Telling cool stories. I like to entertain and inform.

3) Meeting some really, really nifty people on stories, or who come in to be morning guests.



4) Correcting my former co-anchor/work husband Paul Drewes' pronounciation of words and names harder than "Smith." Informing the producers to give me that story instead of him. Writing in a pronouncer for him and then reminding him of it shortly before it came up.

Me and Paul

Me and Paul

5) Ribbing my current co-anchor Dash about anything and everything, especially on Thursdays when Cat Toth and I double team against him, on her guest segment. Like his love for Hannah Montana.

dog guest

6) The time the pony was in the studio and kicked a hole in the set because it got spooked. I was looking at the blooper reel the other day and I literally laid down on the floor and rolled around holding my sides because it was so funny.

7) The time the light stand fell over in the old building's loft, and because nobody noticed it, and it's hot, it burned a hole in the wall and started a small fire. When I got to work the sudio doors were all open, several fans were full blast, and it smelled smoky.


8) Seeing Russ Yamanoha still there socializing with the morning crew. He was still there from his evening shift and I was just coming in to work on the morning show! Russ always makes me crack up.

9) The feral - or runaway? - rooster who lived briefly in the KHNL parking lot at the old Sand Island building. Nothing says Kalihi like a rooster at the newsplex.

10) When Duncan Armstrong and I flew to Thailand to cover the Banda Aceh tsunami damage. Duncan, from Colorado, is about as white as they come. He only eats meat and potatoes. He put ketchup on every single Thai dish we were served. He brought it over from America to ensure he would have his favorite brand.



11) Kicking back beers after a long election night with everyone at the station. Er, I mean, at a public area meant for the consumption of alcohol. Nothing like that would ever go on at our workplace.

Photogs on election night 2008

Photogs on election night 2008

12) Looking at reporter Darren Pai's super messy desk every day. Watching our old news director Dan Dennison get upset every time he passed it, because Dan was a neat freak. (Dan was proud of his tidiness, so if he's reading this, he's laughing.)

13) Reading dry, sarcastic e mails from former assignment editor, the awesome Garett Kamemoto. Thanks for always injecting humor into the day.

14) Wild news parties.

15) Teasing photographer Sisto Domingo by telling him our story for the day is to shoot Miss Hawaiian Tropic bikini pageant. Best way to get your photog out the door in 30 seconds. Or shooting the Miss Universe pageant in five minutes, but he took 3 hours to edit the story.

16) Pranking assignment editor/ fill-in weather guy (I know, strange hybrid) Sean Ibara by writing love letters to him from computers of people who left without logging off.

17) The time I zipped down my shirt while standing on set (before the show) without realizing someone was rolling tape for the blooper reel.

18) JT's Star Wars figurine collection, which he meticulously set up on the shared technicians' desk every day before his shift.

19) Calling reporter Minna Sugimoto "Minner," a la Brooklyn accent.

20) When reporter Roger Mari made a suggestion that evolved into a humorous Fight Card for News Ladies. We seeded brackets and everything. Web reporter Cindy Cha was deemed the winner.

21) Photographer Ericon Cristobal's narcolepsy. He would fall asleep in the cutter and we could hear him snoring while we were on set.


22) The Superbowl bet between my then-weekend co-anchors Paul Drewes and Stephen Florino. Loser was supposed to deliver the news without pants. Stephen lost, but reneged. Who'd have known? You don't see what's under the desk!

23) When then weekend weather anchor Tom Birchard fell off his chair. On air! He was trying to walk and talk from the weather wall back to the desk but he misjudged, and sat only half his butt on the seat, which slid out from under him.

24) Then-technician Paul Nickel rushing through the last 10 seconds of the countdown to air, because he always stopped paying attention then had to rush through the last seconds.

25) Producer Brian Sinclair's Best Prank Ever played on me. The show was pre-empted but nobody told me, so they made like we were live and they screwed up every single story for five minutes to try and mess me up.

26) Assignment editor Garett Kamemoto's dry wit:

From: Kamemoto, Garett
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 9:20 AM

To: All KHNL News

Subject: A word of advice
The fax machine typically works better when it’s plugged in. Please be careful around the machine. It was unplugged (not acoustic) when I got in this morning. I managed to solve the problem though it did test the limit of my skills.


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